BeeComing – Mental Awareness Through Augmented Reality
Anton Poikolainen Rosén
Awareness and focus is increasingly important in a society where our attention is constantly grabbed and even capitalized. In 2047, we are actively training our our mind. In BeeComing, the user is provided the tools to observe, reflect, let go and be(e)
Being aware and focused is increasingly important in a society where our attention is constantly grabbed and even capitalized. In 2047, we are actively training our ability to focus and expand our mind. In BeeComing, the user is provided the tools to focus on what it would feel like to ‘be a bee’, a foundational creature in the future food system of resilient farming. In 2047 we have broadly accepted that due to the limited natural resources on earth, western society needs to decrease consumption radically and instead move towards an experience-based economy. Experience, in this case, refers to holistic and immersive experiences beyond the experience of consuming a thing or ‘UX-design of efficient systems’.
BeeComing is a part of this experience economy, exploring novel ways of being. Employing a cultivation of flowers, VR-glasses, headphones, a 360-camera a UV-camera and a CO2 sensor, the user is encouraged to observe, reflect and let go.
A silent buzzing and humming is heard in the headphones worn by the user standing next to a cultivation of flowers and vegetables. A 360 camera is placed in the cultivation displaying its live recording in a VR headset worn by the user, thus situating the users’ viewpoint in the cultivation. Apart from the vegetation, the user may look up from a bee’s perspective at the gigantic version of themselves. This creates a sensation of a double presence of being in the cultivation and standing next to it simultaneously.
This is however not the only thing the user might see. As the 360 camera is equipped with UV-sensors, ‘invisible’ UV-patterns of the flowers are visible through the VR headset. The technologically mediated interaction makes visible aspects of reality that are normally inaccessible to humans. Thus, unlike most AR concepts, in this system, the augmentation of the reality is not a digital layer, instead computed technology enables users to see what is already there, however, not directly sensible to the naked human eye.
In addition, a CO2 sensor is placed in the cultivation. The users’ breath is measured as a metric of CO2 in the exhale (the concentration of CO2 today is 420 ppm, at the beginning of the industrial revolution it was 280 ppm, in human exhale it is 4000 ppm). The measured CO2 is represented through sounds, visuals or a blowing fan depending on the setting of BeeCooming. Through drawing attention to the users breathing, the user is encouraged to stay in the moment, observe and let go – connecting to the tradition of meditation
In the presence of plants, we may hear the calming echo of ancestral and future awareness that everything we need and every chance for our survival dwells in the green world. Long ago, now as in the future.
I am a PhD student in Informatics and Interaction design. I explore sustainability from an environmental and mental health perspective in the context of urban farming.
A 360-camera (5 000 kr) and a VR-headset (5 000 kr) is needed for this project. As the project is more about arranging technology and not constructing it, the tools for the piece could be re-used. Several models for funding the 360-camera and VR-headset could thus be imagined. Eg. renting the equipment or that the institute purchases equipment as an investment for further use.
There are no 360 UV-cameras on the market today, why a 'Wizard of Oz setup' would probably need to be arranged, combining a standard UV-camera with a 360 camera or through simulations of UV patterns.
Co2 sensor, computing power, lamps, pallet collar, soil, plants etc. could be provided by the artist.
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